As we age, our bodies change, and that includes our teeth. Old age puts people at risk for a variety of dental issues, and these can be made worse by neglecting proper dental care. Common dental issues among seniors include gum disease, tooth loss, darkened teeth, and root decay. However, these issues can be preventable if teeth are properly cared for.
Maintaining a strict brushing and flossing routine every day is the simplest way to prevent dental problems from happening, or from getting worse if they are already present. Gum disease tends to develop just from the buildup of plaque over time, which is prevented by brushing and flossing. Brushing should occur at least twice per day with a fluoride enriched toothpaste. Flossing should be done at least once per day. It can also be extremely beneficial to use an antibacterial mouth wash to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which can cause a host of problems such thrush growth in the mouth.
Regular visits to the dentists are also extremely important. At least every six months is a good guideline, but it is adviseable to go more often if you think you are at risk for a serious dental issue such as gum disease. Your dentist will be able to check you for any signs of potential problems by asking questions about how your mouth has been feeling and by performing an oral exam. The dentist will also give your teeth a deep clean to get rid of any buildup of plaque, which can cause gum disease.
A great smile is a huge asset — at every age!
Seniors should also make sure that they are aware of the signs of various dental problems, so that they can deal with them as soon as possible if they start experiencing symptoms. Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems experienced by older adults. Signs of gum disease include swollen and tender gums, bleeding during brushing or flossing, loose gums or teeth, pain during chewing, and teeth sensitivity.
Sensitivity in teeth is an especially common problem as aging occurs, even if it is not related to gum disease or another issue. This is because gums recede over time, which exposes nerve endings, causing sensitivity to extreme temperatures and even pain. This can be managed by using a toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth. If the sensitivity continues, a gum graft may be necessary.
Another major dental issue for older adults is loose or broken teeth. Avoid biting into extremely hard foods that may crack your teeth – try to cut them up or substitute with another food. Also, try to avoid putting too much pressure on your teeth by grinding them, as this is a major cause of loose teeth. Dentists can prescribe a treatment program for you if you grind your teeth regularly.
With proper care, teeth can remain healthy and pain-free into old age. The most important thing is to ask your dentist when concerns arise – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.